Who is Chelsea Manning
Chelsea E. Manning is a former all-source intelligence analyst for the U.S. Defense Department. Chelsea wrote extensively for The Guardian and on Medium about issues like transparency, free speech, civil liberties, queer and trans rights, and computer and network security, as well as her own life and experience. She also tweets regularly at @xychelsea, and posts photos at @xychelsea87.
Chelsea E. Manning was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on December 17th, 1987. After her parents divorced in 2000, her mother took Chelsea to secondary school in the United Kingdom from 2001 to 2005, where she graduated. After moving back to the U.S. in 2005, she lived in the mid-West for a year.
"I've been homeless. I've been to war. I've been to prison. This is my résumé."
After estrangement with her father while in Oklahoma City, Chelsea ran away to Chicago, Illinois, where she lived homeless for several months. After her aunt reached out to provide housing, she settled in Potomac, Maryland. Chelsea struggled to juggle work at Starbucks and Abercrombie & Fitch with college classes, and find stability.
Chelsea enlisted in the U.S. military during the Iraq troop "surge" in 2007. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 for nearly a year. She explains that she "was pretty hopeful we could still make a difference" in Iraq and Afghanistan, bring our troops home, and "protect the civilians" there.
"When reporters ask, 'Why are you running?' I ask, 'Why the hell wouldn't I be running?'"
Chelsea then served seven years in prison after disclosing military and diplomatic information to the public that, among other things, exposed the "true nature of 21st century asymmetric warfare." Chelsea came out as a trans woman in 2013, while serving in an all male prison at Fort Leavenworth Kansas.
Her 35 year sentence was commuted by President Obama in 2017.
Chelsea now lives back in the D.C. suburbs of Maryland, in Montgomery County between Bethesda and Rockville.